Question:

I had a question regarding something that is not necessarily "scriptural," but I believe can be connected back to Scripture. My question is basically: "Do ghosts exist?"

Now, this question is more complex than it appears. By "ghosts," I am not necessarily referring to souls of dead people stuck on earth (the secular definition), but I am referring to simply "spirits," most likely demonic. I do not know if you are familiar with shows such as "Ghost Hunters," where paranormal investigators scientifically investigate ghosts. They find some startling results from their investigations, such as voices recorded on tape recorders which were not originally heard by anyone, objects being moved, even the occasional "apparition," either a shadow, a strange figure, etc.

I have heard the theory that ghosts acting like people of the past are really just demons who are pretending to be in order to trick humans (most likely to create false religions, which actually has happened, as paranormal societies have their own "religions.").

So, basically, I'm asking a two part question: Do you believe in "ghosts" (demons) and their existence on earth? Do you believe they can be scientifically detected (which raises far too many other questions about the universe and reality, which I won't even go into because nobody has the answer).

I ask because I noticed you mentioned in another question that after Jesus, demons no longer possess people. But I believe that they still do possess people (I've heard lots of stories of it), and are just as crafty as they were with Jesus, if not more (as they are hanging out in certain places pretending to be people from the past).

I know I haven't asked a straightforward question, but I'm just curious to hear some of your commentary on the subject.


Answer:

Let's use more precise terms. You are asking if spirits, or spiritual beings, exist and interact in this world. That question is straightforward to answer:

In speaking of angels, the writer of Hebrews stated, "Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?" (Hebrews 1:14). And we also know on the bad side that "Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons" (I Timothy 4:1). Notice that neither verse states how these beings are operating in the world, only that they are operating.

Satan is a spiritual being and Christians are warned, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour" (I Peter 5:8). But the battle isn't conducted in the physical realm. It is a battle of words. "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ" (II Corinthians 10:3-5).

I'm sorry, but a television show is definitely not evidence of the spiritual world. Having done work in the field of computer generated special effects, I know how easy (and difficult) it is to modify footage. Whether this show is faked or not isn't the point. The fact remains that because modifications can and do exist, a television show doesn't offer proof.

Can spirits be scientifically detected? Probably not. The Bible states that men are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:28), which means each of us have a spiritual component. Yet, science has yet to be able to detect that component. But they haven't figured out what makes something "alive" yet either, so I wouldn't hold your breath.

Whether you accept what the Bible states is not evidence either. I know people claim demon possession, but claims don't constitute evidence either. Me? I stick to what God said about His universe. He stated that unclean spirits would be removed from the land (Zechariah 13:1-3). Jesus stated that anyone who later claimed to cast out demons would not be doing God's will (Matthew 7:21-23). Demons are around encouraging the spread of lies, but they no longer are allowed to take possession of a person.